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Blaze Win a Left-on-Base Bonanza in Modesto, 6-506/09/2012 2:27 AM ET
The Bakersfield Blaze played its 4th consecutive 1-run game against the Modesto Nuts, and prevailed for the 3rd time among them on Friday night at John Thurman Field by the final score of 6-5.
The game went back and forth all night. Modesto plated the first run of the game in the bottom of the 1st inning, as Andrew Brackman, making his second start in a mechanical-demotion from triple-A Louisville, hit the leadoff man, then surrendered a double and a single. A baserunning mistake got him out of the jam, and the Blaze responded with 4 singles, 2 walks and a big error in the 2nd to take a 5-1 lead.
The game was just getting started. In the bottom of the 3rd, Brackman issued 5 walks, leading to 2 runs, and cutting the Blaze lead to just 5-3, and after surrendering 2 singles to begin the 4th, the Blaze were forced to go to the pen.
Pat Doyle (W, 5-3) came on and allowed a pair of game-tying hits, but settled down immediately thereafter and retired the next 9 batters in a row, completing that feat for the second time in the last 2 weeks. Meanwhile, on the other side, the Blaze used a walk and 3 singles to score their 6th and final run off Kurt Yacko (L, 2-2) in the 6th inning, but left the bases loaded.
The Nuts then loaded the bases in their half of the 7th off Mike Griffin, but a pair of strikeouts ended that mess. The Blaze came back and loaded the bases in the 8th, marking the 3rd straight inning where at least one team put 3 aboard, and they, too, came up empty. In the bottom of the 8th, Modesto's Jayson Langfels led off the frame with a triple, but he was stranded, too.
The game featured 3 pickoffs, 6 visits from pitching coaches, 17 combined walks, and 21 runners left on base, but when all was said and done, Brian Pearl (S, 12) worked a scoreless 9th to get the Blaze the win, the team's 3rd in a row.
The victory moves Bakersfield to a season-high 11 games over 500, and combined with San Jose's loss, 3.5-games ahead of the Giants in the California League North first half race with 9 to play.
The series with Modesto continues Saturday night at 7:05pm, when Tyler Matzek of the Nuts takes on Jamie Walczak of the Blaze. The game can be heard on the internet and radio at BakersfieldBlaze.com and SmartTalk AM-1230, respectively. Dan Besbris will call all the action beginning at 6:55pm. Be sure to listen as the Blaze keep fighting for a first half title!